Updated: Oct 22, 2022
Seismic changes in Iran meant the #hijab became compulsory in 1981, in what is widely viewed as a punishment to the women who participated en masse in the 1979 #IranianRevolution. Since then, protests have come in waves.
Women have been at the forefront of all these protests, rebelling against the regime and challenging their government’s legitimacy. One of such movements broke out in 2017 and later became known as the Girls of Revolution Street and involved women and girls removing their veils, waving them in the air like flags of freedom in a form of peaceful protest against the mullahs’ regime.
The present revolution is again focused on two key demands: dignity and freedom. Both have been absent from political life in Iran, therefore the popular slogan “zan, zendegi, azadi”, an adaptation of the previously existing slogan “jin, jiyan, azadi” or “Woman, Life, Freedom”, coined within the Kurdish women’s freedom movement, arose in response. Some female protesters have chanted this phrase as they burn their hijabs and cut off their hair. Such actions are not against the hijab, but against the fact that it is compulsory.
These women are marching shoulder to shoulder with men. They are facing guns and bullets and demanding an end to a system of gender apartheid. So far, dozens of people have been killed by security forces and hundreds more arrested.
Fortunately, the feminist movement in Iran has not been opposed by men, in fact many men are followers of it.
Women, however, are bearing the brunt of the struggle and their male allies support them in their demand for the elimination of discrimination.
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